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Can GoToMeeting Get its Mojo Back?
LogMeIn this week announced a complete makeover of its flagship GoToMeeting product, as covered in this No Jitter post detailing the product’s new look and functionality. I won’t rehash those details here, instead using this space to share my thoughts around what this update — the biggest upgrade in LogMeIn’s history — means for the company.
GoToMeeting is one of the oldest and most-mature online meeting products in the industry, but lately LogMeIn has been bumbling around this market. Anecdotally, I’ve noticed a big shift away from GoToMeeting. A couple of years ago, most of the online meetings I attended were Webex, with GoToMeeting as a strong number two. Today, I still do many meetings via Webex, but the GoToMeeting volume has primarily been taken away by the easy-to-use, video-first Zoom. We can see the effect that smaller, nimbler competitors such as Zoom have been having on the company, whose stock price has been hammered over the past couple of years.
Despite its name, GoToMeeting’s strength was in enabling content sharing between multiple parties rather than in its meeting functionality. Sharing content is certainly important, but most of the industry has focused on adding video and other tools to recreate the feeling of being there. Zoom has long shown that it understands this, as has Cisco. GoToMeeting, however, had stood still.
Catching Up & Jumping Ahead
This is to say, the user interface introduced this week is long overdue. And while it’s cleaner, video-first, and fosters that in-person feeling participants desire, I say, big whoop. With the new look and feel, GoToMeeting catches up but that’s not going to LogMeIn to take back share. Don’t get me wrong… the new interface looks great, but so does every other meeting provider’s.
Rather, the differentiator for the new GoToMeeting is its ability to address the entire meeting lifecycle, which includes before, during, and after phases. This sort of functionality has been lacking since the inception of online meetings. Cisco is close to delivering this capability as well, but it’s the only other vendor that’s even thought about the concept of a meeting lifecycle. Since LogMeIn bought GoToMeeting from Citrix in 2016, it hasn’t exactly impressed me with innovation, so this jump is a pleasant surprise.
The in-meeting functionality, audio quality, video capabilities, device consistency, and so on that the revamped GoToMeeting provides are things most vendors do well — so again, it’s hard to differentiate here. The pre-meeting improvements almost call out how far behind the company was before this upgrade. Joining meetings can be done 65% faster than before, according to a blog from Mark Strassman, SVP and GM of UCC at LogMeIn — and to that I offer my most hearty congratulations. But, why was it so bad in the first place? The same can be said for calendar integration.
The new Hub feature, which LogMeIn positions as a single pane of glass for users to keep track of meeting info, is compelling. I think all of us suffer from meeting overload, and the Hub should help users better organize their meetings. Users can also start and schedule meetings from the Hub, making it literally the hub of meetings and meeting-related tasks.
The post-meeting features offer the most value as these are things most companies do poorly. The meeting ends, and everyone rushes back to their desks and moves on to the next meeting. Much of the knowledge gleaned in a meeting is lost unless the organization has one of “those people” who enjoys taking notes and meeting minutes for sharing with attendees. But just because someone is dedicated to this task, there’s no guarantee it’s done well.
Catching the Next Wave
The new GoToMeeting offers real-time transcription, and meeting participants can receive a transcript within minutes of a meeting’s end. This offers some value, but I hope GoToMeeting is working on the next wave so that instead of a transcript, attendees get AI-filtered meeting minutes as this makes transcripts more useful. A transcript is great, but it requires you to sit down and listen to the whole thing or spend the time manually filtering by people or topic. With AI applied to meetings, participants should be able to receive a summary in bulleted format, with important aspects called out, and individualized to-do lists. This would be game-changing.
Another interesting post-meeting feature is the diagnostic information that provides IT administrators the ability to look at meeting data to understand audio and video quality and find quality issues. This is very difficult to do with meeting tools, as the problems experienced during a meeting are hard to replicate. This data should be valuable in helping IT understand the cause of problems and proactively fix them before they become business impacting.
ZK Point of View: The pre- and during-meeting enhancements were necessary to catch GoToMeeting up with the technology leaders but won’t act as a catalyst for share gain. However, the post-meeting tools can be very useful and might be enough to get customers to look at GoToMeeting again. The AI features are particularly compelling, as the use of machine learning and AI will make meetings more useful and easier to participate in. Back to the original question in my post, this isn’t enough to return GoToMeeting to its former glory, but it should put the company on a level playing field and keep customers from “Zooming” in a different direction. What it does with AI will determine whether it can catch — and surpass — its competitors.